It was announced on twitter by Pat Thomas that Les McCann had passed on to the elders. He died died in Los Angeles on Friday 29th December, 2023. He was 88. (A playlist of tracks, streamed from the Internet Archive can be found below.)

Entirely coincidentally, on New Year’s Day 2023, I started a draft post about McCann’s 1984 Greene Street album, “Road Warriors” – produced by Creed Taylor with Houston Person, but abandoned the post. I thought it would be better to research Greene Street and the album releases first, something I’m still doing and has grown in scope well beyond simply the label and the street in Greenwich Village in New York City. More soon.

“Road Warriors” was one of a number of albums recorded in 1984 that was published on Greene Street by Taylor’s new “2001 Records”, based just a few blocks from Washington Square Park in the village, just on the corner of Broadway and 9th [1]https://www.discogs.com/master/739862-Les-McCann-Houston-Person-Road-Warriors. The title track and others would go on to become staples in the burgeoning “Acid Jazz” scene in London. “Road Warriors” is though otherwise little known. Not because it’s not a good album, it is, although more could have been expected from a Person/McCann combo.

It is relatively unknown mostly because all the Taylor albums from that period are. Post bankruptcy, a new label would have to have deep pockets to encourage distributors to take a chance.

In his announcement of McCann’s passing, Thomas mentions McCann’s book of photography: “Invitation to openness” that Thomas helped to publish and co-author. I’d missed the announcement of the book and have put that right by ordering a copy. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise though that McCann had a photography book, he has been contributing photographs for liner and cover pictures for years, including “Road Warrior” [2]https://www.lesmccannunlimited.com/photography.

McCanns importance to music and culture is perhaps personified by a New York Times obituary, not just an obituary but one just the day after the announcement of his passing and on New Years Day. [3]The copy linked here is a ctproduced.com gift link and can be read by anyone. https://www.nytimes.com/2024/01/01/arts/music/les-mccann-dead.html

We could all be more like Les – “Love and Peace”

LAYERS – LES MCCANN MOVED SOUL JAZZ FORWARD WITH LUSH ELECTRONICS –

PUBLISHED ONLINE WAXPOETICS MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2020
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN ISSUE 10, FALL 2004
BY JOHN KRUTH https://www.waxpoetics.com/article/layers-of-les-mccann

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